Tips to help you choose the right tog, size and brand sleeping bag for your baby.
Looking for the perfect baby sleeping bag to keep your little one safe and warm in winter and cool but comfy in summer? Choosing the right tog, size and brand for your baby can be a minefield.
We spoke to Sleep Consultant, Co Creational Parent and Relationship Mentor and Author Lucy Wolfe about creating the optimum sleep environment and choosing the best baby sleeping bag so both you and your little one can sleep easy:
The benefits of baby sleeping bags
If you’re a new parent or you’re expecting a baby, one of the first things on your shopping list will be bedding. In the early days, babies need lots of sleep so comfortable and safe bedding is key.
💟 Sleep safety
Before you purchase your first sleeping bag, baby sleep safety should be high on your agenda. Research from numerous worldwide studies has shown there is a connection between baby’s sleeping position, temperature and sudden infant death syndrome (SIDS), and the risk is greatly reduced if your baby sleeps on their back in a sleeping bag.
Baby sleeping bags are a good option as they prevent your baby’s head from being covered by wriggling under the bedding, which can put baby at an increased risk of SIDS. You can also choose different tog sizes to suit the seasons to ensure baby stays at the right temperature and different sizes to suit the age of your baby.
‘A sleeping bag is a great way of addressing your child’s sleep safety and avoiding the issue of becoming too hot or becoming cold from kicking off blankets or moving around a lot,’ says Wolfe. ‘Sleeping bag use also avoids the issue of loose bedding and hazards in the sleep environment, helping parents to follow safe sleep guidance.’
💟 Temperature control
If your baby gets too hot this can also put them at higher risk of SIDS. Baby sleeping bags can help to maintain the optimum temperature for your baby’s sleep environment.
‘It is important to note that your child will not sleep well if too hot or cold and also, parents may struggle to relax if they are not following safe sleep guidance,’ says Wolfe. ‘A sleeping bag is a great option to help avoid risks and also to help your baby feel emotionally as well as physically safe and secure in the context of their sleep.’
💟 Bedtime routine
If you’ve done your research you will know the first rule for encouraging baby sleep is routine. Babies love a schedule and a sleeping bag not only makes them feel cosy and secure, it can become an integral aspect of the bedtime routine that signals to baby it’s time to nod off.
‘I encourage that getting into the sleeping bag is used as a signal for sleepy time as part of your bedtime routine and as part of the implied emotional safety with their sleep,’ says Wolfe. ‘Furthermore, if your child will attend daycare or if you travel or stay in hospital, then the sleeping bag will help to underpin the sleep routine and the positive emotions that you have established at home.’
Choosing a safe baby sleeping bag
With so many baby sleeping bags on the market it can be tricky to decide which one is right for your baby. ‘Always use a sleeping bag that complies with British Standards,’ advises Wolfe. ‘Choose the correct size for your particular baby, well fitted around the shoulders with no risk of your baby slipping down and covering their mouth or head.’
To make sure only the safest baby sleeping bags are recommended, Which recently carried out a baby sleeping bag test. To help you avoid dangerous products and find the best and safest sleeping bag for your baby, Which recommends you carry out the following safety tests on each bag:
- Check the neck opening is the right size for the age of the child.
- Make sure the fasteners (studs and zips) are all strong enough to stop a baby from escaping.
- Look for any loose threads and labels that could trap a baby’s fingers or toes.
- Check to see if there are strangulation hazards – such as a draw cord – built in to the sleeping bag.
- Make sure loose labels aren’t too long and loop labels are in the upper inside back part of the sleeping bag.
- Carry out a small parts check to make sure buttons etc. don’t detach and create a choking hazard.
- Make sure the bags don’t get too hot, which could cause a baby to dangerously overheat.
Baby sleeping bag tog guide
Baby sleeping bags are given a tog rating according to the warmth they provide and the higher the tog rating, the warmer the bag. Choose the right sleeping bag for your baby based on the temperature of your baby’s nursery (or the room they sleep in!) and the following tog ratings:
- 5 tog – This tog is designed for extremely cold climates so it’s unlikely that you would need a tog this thick unless you’re planning a trip overseas.
- 5 tog – This tog can be used all year round for standard room temperatures of 15-20 celsius. Dress baby in a cotton bodysuit and add a sleepsuit if the temperature dips below 16 degrees.
- 5 tog– This tog is ideal for warmer weather and room temperatures of 20-25 celsius. Dress baby in just a cotton bodysuit under the sleeping bag.
- 5 tog –Designed for hot weather and room temperatures of 24 celsius or higher, dress baby in a short sleeved body suit or just a nappy if it’s really warm.
A baby sleeping bag is a wearable blanket designed to be used instead of duvets or top sheets, so you do not need to use extra bedding in addition to the sleeping bag.
Baby safe sleeping tips
As well as investing in a baby sleeping bag, there are a number of things you can do to ensure baby sleeps safe and to gently encourage a good night’s rest for all:
- Don’t overdress your baby
Overheating can be a risk factor for your young child who will not be able to regulate their own body temperature, says Wolfe. ‘Consider the time of year and slowly move the tog up as appropriate for your own individual sleep environment.’
- Check the temperature
The recommended room temperature for babies is between 16-20 degrees celsius, says Wolfe. ‘It is suggested that a room thermometer will allow you to keep an eye on the temperature and helps you to avoid the room being too hot or too cold – as baby will not sleep well in either scenario, with younger babies more at risk of overheating.’
‘You can check if your child is too hot by placing your hand on the skin of their tummy or the back of the neck,’ adds Wolfe. ‘If this area feels hot, clammy or sweaty then it would be advisable to remove a layer. The hands or the feet are not a good guide as they will always feel cooler.’
- Keep baby close
It is best to keep your baby sleeping close to you for at least the first six months to reduce the risk of SIDS. ‘Babies do much better sleeping in close proximity to the parent,’ says Wolfe.
- Shop wisely
Make sure you purchase a cot, mattress and sleeping bag that complies with British Standards and keep the cot clear of any items including toys and loose bedding. ‘Always make informed and safe sleep choices, such as a firm, standard-compliant mattress, no loose bedding and no cute teddies or positioners,’ says Wolfe. ‘Place your baby with their feet close to the end of the cot or co-sleeper, and never use a hat inside the house.’
- Set sleep rituals
Introducing a familiar routine into your evening including bath time, story time and even baby massage will set up solid foundations for optimal sleeping. ‘Introduce a bedtime sleep ritual, a familiar sequence of events, that include getting into the sleeping bag, that help send the message, and create positive emotions and foundations in respect to their sleep,’ says Wolfe.